Everyone Has a Past

Friday, May 11, 2018

While we all live moment-by-moment, we are also shaped by our past. This is especially true for adventurers. After all, very few elves at the ripe age of 14 think to themselves, "Hey, I think I'm going to become a barbarian." There is a path that leads the character to their class. It might synergize obviously with the class's discipline, or at first blush it might seem a non sequitur, but the path is there.

In the Pathfinder Playtest, your ancestry talks a bit about your past, but it also speaks to your present and the promise of the future, by virtue of the fact that you continue to gain ancestry feats through the course of your adventuring career. But to help you dig deeper into your past, you'll choose a background.

Generally, backgrounds allow you to select a bit of backstory that mechanically affects the current state of your character. The first thing it does is grants you a pair of ability boosts (with some limitations on one of those ability boosts), and then it grants a skill feat tied to the theme of your background and proficiency in a Lore skill that also ties into the background. For instance, here is an old chestnut:

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Blacksmith (Background)

You were a blacksmith or a blacksmith's apprentice, and during countless hours toiling at the forge, you learned how to smith armor and weapons. Perhaps you worked hard each day and dreamed of adventure each night, or perhaps the adventuring life was thrust upon you by a pivotal event.

Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Strength or Intelligence, and one is a free ability boost.

You gain the Specialty Crafting skill feat for blacksmithing, and you're trained in the Smithing Lore skill.

Sure, it's a bit cliche, but it's a fun cliche. Before becoming a fighter, you were a blacksmith's apprentice. Maybe you crafted your sword or suit of armor and decided to protect home and hearth from monsters. But take a closer look at the background. It's more flexible than that. It's also an excellent background for an alchemist or another character who wants to specialize in crafting. Since you can boost Intelligence via this background, and Intelligence is the key ability score for both Crafting skill and the alchemist class, you can refocus this background into that of an intelligent tinkerer who uses innovation rather than toil to create metal objects. And who knows? Maybe later on in your career, you can fuse your background with other skill feats to invent a new form of alchemical armor or some kind of metal construct.

Not all backgrounds have to do with gainful employment; others deal with the circumstances of your upbringing that you can parlay into useful skills. Here is another example of a classic fantasy trope:

Street Urchin (Background)

You eked out a living by picking pockets on the streets of a major city, never knowing where you'd find your next meal. While some folk adventure for the glory, you adventure as a means of survival.

Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Dexterity or Intelligence, and one is a free ability boost.

You gain the Pickpocket skill feat, and you're trained in the Underworld Lore skill.

While a classic rogue background, this background also has enough flexibility to serve as a perfectly fine background for a wizard or alchemist, and that's only if you dwell on the limited ability boost. Remember, one of the ability boosts if free, so you can play against type and still make a perfectly reasonable character. Imagine a paladin with this background, which isn't so hard if you know anything about a certain iconic paladin...

Not all backgrounds are so all-encompassing, though. After all, your background not only deals with activity but also your personal focus. You may have been an apprentice blacksmith, even for a long while, but retained none of its benefits because you were too busy dreaming about being a Pathfinder.

Pathfinder Hopeful (Background)

You've long wanted to join the adventurous Pathfinder Society, a world-spanning organization of relic hunters. This aspiration has led you to take up the dangerous life of an adventurer eager to make a name for yourself and gain the attention of the Pathfinder Society.

Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Strength or Intelligence, and one is a free ability boost.

You gain the Additional Lore feat, and you're trained in the Pathfinder Society Lore skill.

While the boosts are similar to that of the blacksmith background, the skill selection is, of course, different. I can easily picture this background as that of a young dreamer, toiling away when she must but finding whatever time she can to read various Pathfinder Chronicles (both real and forged) and honing her body and mind for the chance to join the Pathfinder Society.

Incidentally, this is not a background you will find in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook. While that weighty tome provides 19 backgrounds, you'll find six more backgrounds in the Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn. Those six are tailor-made for the adventure, granting the opportunity for small, sometimes incidental perks during play for those who take them and allowing you to tailor your character to the story. This is one of the chief benefits of the background system—it can be used to make very general backgrounds or to tailor specific backgrounds to an adventure or a campaign.

And so there you have it; that's the skinny on backgrounds. What kind of backgrounds can you imagine?

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Senior Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
101 to 150 of 579 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ectar wrote:
Am I the only one bothered that Pathfinder Society Lore is a skill?

Depends, what bothers you about it?

Assuming it works like background skills in Unchained, the actual skill is "Lore" which you can select more than once. Your focus within the skill is "Pathfinder Society." Equally valid choice

Think of it like a very specialized knowledge skill. It's not something everyone is going to have, or even have the option to select.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
KingOfAnything wrote:
ChaiGuy wrote:
I found it strange that it is not specifically said that both ability score increases need to be in different abilities, maybe you can double up with this increase
That would probably be outlined in the general character rules rather than repeated on each entry.
Joe M wrote:

:

ChaiGuy wrote:

I found it strange that it is not specifically said that both ability score increases need to be in different abilities, maybe you can double up with this increase

... (snip)

I expect that there's a general background rule regarding ability boosts like, "apply to any score other than a score that is modified by another ability boost in the same step."

That would achieve consistency across every time you gain a set of ability boosts, whether from Ancestry or leveling up (where we know they work like that) or Background.

I suspect that the general rule of not stacking fixed and floating ability score bonuses from a single source to be highly likely, I'm still surprised it wasn't reiterated if that is the case.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Is it conflated with cheese? I do like cheese. Ghost pepper jack on tortilla chips with chorizo and black beans...
I'm hungry.


22 people marked this as a favorite.

Not a fan.

These options are restricting, whether people want to admit it or not.

Paizo could save a bunch of book space by just having the following text.

"For your character's background, pick 2 ability scores and increase them by 2, then pick a feat from the table X, and a skill from table Y. Your GM may require that you explain your choices with a short description of your background."

Now I don't have to worry about my character having to pick a background that doesn't fit my envisioned character's actual background, or being stuck with the cliches associated with said backgrounds.

I know I had a horrible time with 5e's background system, as NONE of the choices fit my character, so I ended up picking the one with the best mechanical benefits to my character. It felt more like I was clicking boxes in a character creation menu on a cheap MMO than I was applying mechanical benefits that fit the character I envisioned.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
1of1 wrote:

Is it conflated with cheese? I do like cheese. Ghost pepper jack on tortilla chips with chorizo and black beans...

I'm hungry.

Me too...


2 people marked this as a favorite.

So DnD 5's backgrounds with a stat mod? Not the worst way to do it but also underwhelming too.

Will backgrounds just be Stats + Skill/Lore? Or do we have to fear a return to everyone picking the same one like traits ie; Reactionary on most characters?

I can see why for balance why it'd just be kinda bog standard but with the given examples, I really don't feel much from it. And if the rules for making custom backgrounds are kinda meh, well background system gets put in the home rule bin.

Side note, if Traits are gone are AP's going to have AP specific backgrounds?

Unsure on the whole Lore thing when it comes to knowledge. Using it in my games with the Background skill rules(So PF2 is just Unchained?) but it hasn't really helped or harmed too much.


1of1 wrote:
Ectar wrote:
Am I the only one bothered that Pathfinder Society Lore is a skill?

It's a bit weird, and it kind of makes me worried that lore skills are just kind of made up as you go along and rely on GM interpretation to do anything.

"I don't know, let me check."

Lore skills are like Craft or Profession skills. You basically tackle any word in parenthesis after the skill name, like: Lore(Brewery), Lore(Sandpoint), Lore(Abadar), Lore(Goblins).


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
thflame wrote:

Not a fan.

These options are restricting, whether people want to admit it or not.

Paizo could save a bunch of book space by just having the following text.

"For your character's background, pick 2 ability scores and increase them by 2, then pick a feat from the table X, and a skill from table Y. Your GM may require that you explain your choices with a short description of your background."

Now I don't have to worry about my character having to pick a background that doesn't fit my envisioned character's actual background, or being stuck with the cliches associated with said backgrounds.

I know I had a horrible time with 5e's background system, as NONE of the choices fit my character, so I ended up picking the one with the best mechanical benefits to my character. It felt more like I was clicking boxes in a character creation menu on a cheap MMO than I was applying mechanical benefits that fit the character I envisioned.

Yes! This! I love this idea, it gives you freedom without making it too convoluted.

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ectar wrote:
Am I the only one bothered that Pathfinder Society Lore is a skill?

Campaign backgrounds are a good thing. Just like campaign traits were.

PFS lore will certainly come in handy for the organized play campaign.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
MerlinCross wrote:
Side note, if Traits are gone are AP's going to have AP specific backgrounds?

The Playtest Module has 6 with it, so signs point toward yes :3


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Thebazilly wrote:
Joe M. wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Adding +2 to 4 stats on top of Ancestry, Background, and Class would neatly map to the 18 points Kyra has been demonstrated to have (Str 14, Dex 12, Wis 18, Cha 14), so that's almost certainly how that works.
Great, then we know the full system.

I've gotta say, I like this system for stat generation a lot better than "How low can I get away with dumping my Wisdom?" or getting screwed over by rolling. (Rolling stats has caused minor drama in the past for me. The players requested that we roll for stats, and then were upset... because the characters ended up with disparate stat arrays...) Seems like fun to combine all the facets of your character into an ability score array.

Backgrounds seem fairly uncontroversial. Basically a replacement for Traits, which is good, because there were way too many Traits in PF1, and they vary wildly in utility. Backgrounds look like they'll be a lot easier to balance and homebrew.

I think 5e only provided 13(?) backgrounds in the CRB, so we're already ahead there, too. (Which is good, because there were not enough in 5e.)

On rolling, my gm has usually done what he refers to as the "magic six" method, 3d6 convert the lowest individual die to a 6 giving an 8 to 18 range with a 13 average. Slightly higher than most but more heroic than a bad stint of rolling.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:
Side note, if Traits are gone are AP's going to have AP specific backgrounds?
The Playtest Module has 6 with it, so signs point toward yes :3

See also my post early in the thread where Stephen specifically discussed this in an interview. (On my phone, can't link right now.) Having AP specific backgrounds is definitely a thing and was a major goal of the system.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
KingOfAnything wrote:
Ectar wrote:
Am I the only one bothered that Pathfinder Society Lore is a skill?

Campaign backgrounds are a good thing. Just like campaign traits were.

PFS lore will certainly come in handy for the organized play campaign.

Organized yes, home run... *Shrug* eh?

I really can't say much without seeing all the Campaign backgrounds but those in Trait form were pretty nice.

Dunno how I'll run it though. I used to require players to take at least 1 campaign trait and 1 normal. Until more rules/alteration is shown, I can't see myself doing that with backgrounds.

Maybe switch one of the buffs of your choice? hmmm

Dark Archive

AnimatedPaper wrote:
Ectar wrote:
Am I the only one bothered that Pathfinder Society Lore is a skill?

Depends, what bothers you about it?

Assuming it works like background skills in Unchained, the actual skill is "Lore" which you can select more than once. Your focus within the skill is "Pathfinder Society." Equally valid choice

Think of it like a very specialized knowledge skill. It's not something everyone is going to have, or even have the option to select.

I'm not the biggest fan of marrying the mechanics and the lore of Golarion, but whatever.

Pathfinder Society Lore just seems really narrow in scope compared to Underworld lore. Maybe on par with Smithing lore, but at least smithing is easy for a GM to implement. You know stuff about turning hunks of metal into shapes of metal.
Pathfinder Society lore requires their to be a Pathfinder Society in a given game (which may or may not be easy to the GM to throw together an analogous organization for a homebrew setting). Second, it requires the GM to know things about the organization for the player's choice to be meaningful.
Plus, with smithinhg you can frequently attempt to learn things about your foes and stuff. Even if the Pathfinder Society exists in a given game, if the adventure at hand doesn't involve the Society then the skill is worthless.

Plus, most of the times as a PFS player I had to interact with an NPC, the NPC assumed we were murdering graverobbers that were little if at at all better than the Aspis.
Who aspires to join an organization with THAT reputation?

TL;DR- Pathfinder Society Lore seems too narrow compared to the other lore skills and I don't particularly like it's inclusion in the beginning.


imo, pretty boring. But effective at the goal and moves us along to "after the background".
So I like it.

10 out of 10

The Exchange

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
Crayon wrote:
Can't say I'm a fan of bundling mechanics with background - it always seems to result in clumsy mechanics and cookie-cutter backgrounds. This is, probably one of the better implementations I've seen, but I do have a question - since all the Backgrounds shown thus far share a similar template, what's the intent behind having the individual Backgrounds?

The more I think about this the more I wonder too.

This feels like it could very easily be made into an optional ruleset.

You either get to do things free form with 2 stat bonuses, a single skill feat, and a single skill proficiency from X list OR select one of these 19 pre-done background sets. That appeals to both roleplayers who want some structure AND to people who want freedom to tinker with more custom sets for both roleplay and optimization purposes.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ectar wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Ectar wrote:
Am I the only one bothered that Pathfinder Society Lore is a skill?

Depends, what bothers you about it?

Assuming it works like background skills in Unchained, the actual skill is "Lore" which you can select more than once. Your focus within the skill is "Pathfinder Society." Equally valid choice

Think of it like a very specialized knowledge skill. It's not something everyone is going to have, or even have the option to select.

I'm not the biggest fan of marrying the mechanics and the lore of Golarion, but whatever.

Well, it's an adventure-specific trait and not in the Core Rulebook, so you won't have to worry about that part.

I don't see how it's any worse than putting points in Profession (Flatulist) or Craft (Underwater Basket).

Edit:
My assumption is that Lore skills are not going to be limited to the Knowledge skills in PF1, and are going to be something player-selected, like Profession and Craft skills already are.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
BryonD wrote:

imo, pretty boring. But effective at the goal and moves us along to "after the background".

So I like it.

10 out of 10

Actually given how average it is, I'd say 5/10. Beat average and about on par with what I expected.

Other than wondering how some things work later down the line, I really can't say much about this topic, it's THAT standard.

Liberty's Edge

7 people marked this as a favorite.

Have to say, I'm still torn about backgrounds. I don't really like the fact that half of the paladins you meet in PF1.0 were found in the wilds as a child, bearing fey markings. I've always felt that traits (and other mechanical advantages) should be divorced from backstory. Why should someone have to be bullied or adopted by elves to have quick reactions. Or why should you have to have trained from a young age using armor to know how to move efficiently while wearing it. Can't someone just be good at something because they have a natural aptitude?

On the other hand, background really does seem to fit into the new intuitive character creation system they have going. And there seems to be an effort to make backgrounds more diverse and open to many character concepts. So, really my hope is when we finally get into the swing of things, and have a few hardcovers out, that we're not going to see the same backstory popping up because there's a wealth of options to choose from, and there's not one best choice for every character build.

Sovereign Court

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ectar wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Ectar wrote:
Am I the only one bothered that Pathfinder Society Lore is a skill?

Depends, what bothers you about it?

Assuming it works like background skills in Unchained, the actual skill is "Lore" which you can select more than once. Your focus within the skill is "Pathfinder Society." Equally valid choice

Think of it like a very specialized knowledge skill. It's not something everyone is going to have, or even have the option to select.

I'm not the biggest fan of marrying the mechanics and the lore of Golarion, but whatever.

Pathfinder Society Lore just seems really narrow in scope compared to Underworld lore. Maybe on par with Smithing lore, but at least smithing is easy for a GM to implement. You know stuff about turning hunks of metal into shapes of metal.
Pathfinder Society lore requires their to be a Pathfinder Society in a given game (which may or may not be easy to the GM to throw together an analogous organization for a homebrew setting). Second, it requires the GM to know things about the organization for the player's choice to be meaningful.
Plus, with smithinhg you can frequently attempt to learn things about your foes and stuff. Even if the Pathfinder Society exists in a given game, if the adventure at hand doesn't involve the Society then the skill is worthless.

Plus, most of the times as a PFS player I had to interact with an NPC, the NPC assumed we were murdering graverobbers that were little if at at all better than the Aspis.
Who aspires to join an organization with THAT reputation?

TL;DR- Pathfinder Society Lore seems too narrow compared to the other lore skills and I don't particularly like it's inclusion in the beginning.

It’s an adventure-specific background. Presumably, the skill is relevant to the adventure. If you are playing a different adventure, you’ll likely stick to the Core Rulebook backgrounds.

Paizo Employee

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Ectar wrote:


Pathfinder Society Lore just seems really narrow in scope compared to Underworld lore. Maybe on par with Smithing lore, but at least smithing is easy for a GM to implement. You know stuff about turning hunks of metal into shapes of metal.
Pathfinder Society lore requires their to be a Pathfinder Society in a given game

That's almost certainly why it's not one of the Playtest Rulebook backgrounds and is instead tied to the adventure, where the designers can ensure that there is in fact a Pathfinder Society and that the skill will be at least somewhat relevant.


12 people marked this as a favorite.
Starfinder Charter Superscriber

It feels very bland to me, and I agree with other posts that they may as well just let you choose the ability score boosts, skill proficiency, etc. and have these as example options for new players. I actually liked PF1 traits a lot better, as they could do a lot of really interesting little things to affect different parts of a character concept--like making it easier to use improvised weapons, improving your ability to Aid Another, or getting a discount when haggling. Sure, there were a lot of them, and many of them were forgettable, but at least there were options. This style of Background is just too cookie-cutter.

The Exchange

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
MerlinCross wrote:
KingOfAnything wrote:
Ectar wrote:
Am I the only one bothered that Pathfinder Society Lore is a skill?

Campaign backgrounds are a good thing. Just like campaign traits were.

PFS lore will certainly come in handy for the organized play campaign.

Organized yes, home run... *Shrug* eh?

I really can't say much without seeing all the Campaign backgrounds but those in Trait form were pretty nice.

Dunno how I'll run it though. I used to require players to take at least 1 campaign trait and 1 normal. Until more rules/alteration is shown, I can't see myself doing that with backgrounds.

Maybe switch one of the buffs of your choice? hmmm

Yeah I am very much of two minds on this. Campaign traits were a cool little addition.

Campaign Backgrounds would really come dominate what PCs you would even see in an AP. I liked them as a way to help people create characters appropriate for the AP but this is verging into Dragonlance territory where everyone may as well just be playing an iconic character that is built FOR them for the amount of narrative freedom this offers.

This would also on a PFS side result in either full-blown faction backgrounds (which is again getting into forcing players into holes) or forcing faction to go the SFS route which I am less crazy about than the existing system of your faction informing your background some without CONSUMING your background.

This has a chance to be an improvement on traits, but there's enough weight attached to these background choices that you start forcing people into bubbles on the roleplay side of things which shouldn't really be the goal. And you do all of this while trading away the little personal modifications that trait offered.

You trade away the modularity, which was a great boon to keeping the game interesting. Sure a lot of people just selected Reactionary and Indomitable Faith and went about their business, but a lot of my more memorable characters were made possible by traits opening up something. For example, my Medium was a worshipper and false cleric to Aroden. This is made possible, largely, by the existence of a trait that lets worshippers of Aroden use longswords even if they dont have martial weapon proficiency and get a bonus to knowledge religion. With this background system I might be forced to either take on a background as an Acolyte in a church or as a swindler or something and not be able to actually achieve my goal of emulating a cleric's background as a non-cleric.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Ssalarn wrote:
Ectar wrote:


Pathfinder Society Lore just seems really narrow in scope compared to Underworld lore. Maybe on par with Smithing lore, but at least smithing is easy for a GM to implement. You know stuff about turning hunks of metal into shapes of metal.
Pathfinder Society lore requires their to be a Pathfinder Society in a given game
That's almost certainly why it's not one of the Playtest Rulebook backgrounds and is instead tied to the adventure, where the designers can ensure that there is in fact a Pathfinder Society and that the skill will be at least somewhat relevant.

It's certainly certainly not one of the Playtest Rulebook backgrounds.

Blog wrote:
Incidentally, this is not a background you will find in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
KingOfAnything wrote:
Ectar wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Ectar wrote:
Am I the only one bothered that Pathfinder Society Lore is a skill?

Depends, what bothers you about it?

Assuming it works like background skills in Unchained, the actual skill is "Lore" which you can select more than once. Your focus within the skill is "Pathfinder Society." Equally valid choice

Think of it like a very specialized knowledge skill. It's not something everyone is going to have, or even have the option to select.

I'm not the biggest fan of marrying the mechanics and the lore of Golarion, but whatever.

Pathfinder Society Lore just seems really narrow in scope compared to Underworld lore. Maybe on par with Smithing lore, but at least smithing is easy for a GM to implement. You know stuff about turning hunks of metal into shapes of metal.
Pathfinder Society lore requires their to be a Pathfinder Society in a given game (which may or may not be easy to the GM to throw together an analogous organization for a homebrew setting). Second, it requires the GM to know things about the organization for the player's choice to be meaningful.
Plus, with smithinhg you can frequently attempt to learn things about your foes and stuff. Even if the Pathfinder Society exists in a given game, if the adventure at hand doesn't involve the Society then the skill is worthless.

Plus, most of the times as a PFS player I had to interact with an NPC, the NPC assumed we were murdering graverobbers that were little if at at all better than the Aspis.
Who aspires to join an organization with THAT reputation?

TL;DR- Pathfinder Society Lore seems too narrow compared to the other lore skills and I don't particularly like it's inclusion in the beginning.

It’s an adventure-specific background. Presumably, the skill is relevant to the adventure. If you are playing a different adventure, you’ll likely stick to the Core Rulebook backgrounds.

Oh, I missed that! That's wonderful! Feelings adequately assuaged.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Deighton Thrane wrote:

Have to say, I'm still torn about backgrounds. I don't really like the fact that half of the paladins you meet in PF1.0 were found in the wilds as a child, bearing fey markings. I've always felt that traits (and other mechanical advantages) should be divorced from backstory. Why should someone have to be bullied or adopted by elves to have quick reactions. Or why should you have to have trained from a young age using armor to know how to move efficiently while wearing it. Can't someone just be good at something because they have a natural aptitude?

On the other hand, background really does seem to fit into the new intuitive character creation system they have going. And there seems to be an effort to make backgrounds more diverse and open to many character concepts. So, really my hope is when we finally get into the swing of things, and have a few hardcovers out, that we're not going to see the same backstory popping up because there's a wealth of options to choose from, and there's not one best choice for every character build.

I feel the same, my group didn't use traits too much because it's was really limiting in terms of your characters backstory, where everyone wanted to pick the same traits for obvious reasons as many are plain crap and a few are really great. I liked the adventure path traits because it gave less creative players an easy way of making a character that fits the story, but I never forced players to use those to build their character.

Liberty's Edge

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Deighton Thrane wrote:
On the other hand, background really does seem to fit into the new intuitive character creation system they have going. And there seems to be an effort to make backgrounds more diverse and open to many character concepts. So, really my hope is when we finally get into the swing of things, and have a few hardcovers out, that we're not going to see the same backstory popping up because there's a wealth of options to choose from, and there's not one best choice for every character build.

Given that any Background can give you a bonus to any stat, and your options seem fairly expansive even if you want a specific two, I don't think people all doing the same Background is super likely.


KingOfAnything wrote:
Ectar wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
Ectar wrote:
Am I the only one bothered that Pathfinder Society Lore is a skill?

Depends, what bothers you about it?

Assuming it works like background skills in Unchained, the actual skill is "Lore" which you can select more than once. Your focus within the skill is "Pathfinder Society." Equally valid choice

Think of it like a very specialized knowledge skill. It's not something everyone is going to have, or even have the option to select.

I'm not the biggest fan of marrying the mechanics and the lore of Golarion, but whatever.

Pathfinder Society Lore just seems really narrow in scope compared to Underworld lore. Maybe on par with Smithing lore, but at least smithing is easy for a GM to implement. You know stuff about turning hunks of metal into shapes of metal.
Pathfinder Society lore requires their to be a Pathfinder Society in a given game (which may or may not be easy to the GM to throw together an analogous organization for a homebrew setting). Second, it requires the GM to know things about the organization for the player's choice to be meaningful.
Plus, with smithinhg you can frequently attempt to learn things about your foes and stuff. Even if the Pathfinder Society exists in a given game, if the adventure at hand doesn't involve the Society then the skill is worthless.

Plus, most of the times as a PFS player I had to interact with an NPC, the NPC assumed we were murdering graverobbers that were little if at at all better than the Aspis.
Who aspires to join an organization with THAT reputation?

TL;DR- Pathfinder Society Lore seems too narrow compared to the other lore skills and I don't particularly like it's inclusion in the beginning.

It’s an adventure-specific background. Presumably, the skill is relevant to the adventure. If you are playing a different adventure, you’ll likely stick to the Core Rulebook backgrounds.

Agreed. I mean I could take "Against the Technic League" trait if a GM lets me right now. But unless the campaign deals with them, it's pointless.

I can see Lore - Pathfinder Society, being around for any AP/Campaign that deals with the Society but I can't see it being a background for every one.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

To me this is feeling too-bland and two specific. Definitely seems like the suggestion upthread is the way to go (two +2 boosts, one skill feat, one lore trained) and just avoid printing N variations.

Or develop it much more fully. I really wanted to see the whole ancestry/background thing help with the nature/nurture aspect that I see mentioned on the boards a lot (elf raised in a dwarf mine, etc). Separate out what's genetics (vision, innate magic, size, senses, poison resistence, natural weapons ,etc) from cultural (weapon proficiency, skills, languages, etc). Then, I think, it would feel like your background choice was equal weight to your ancestry -- both unlock sets of feats you can choose from as you level up. Both give you some more meaningful options.


I like how this system sounds.

Though I think it's a missed opportunity to not have 20 backgrounds.

Still good.


13 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm going to miss traits, some of the traits from PF1 were really evocative of a backstory, particularly via juxtaposition with another trait, in a way that a singular option isn't. Like it's one thing to have been a penniless urchin, and it's another thing to be a penniless orphan who traveled with the Witchmarket and learned how to talk to doorknobs.

So I hope there's an additional dimension added to backgrounds eventually.

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.
1of1 wrote:
Ectar wrote:
Am I the only one bothered that Pathfinder Society Lore is a skill?

It's a bit weird, and it kind of makes me worried that lore skills are just kind of made up as you go along and rely on GM interpretation to do anything.

"I don't know, let me check."

Lore (which you can already read about in Chapter 2 of Pathfinder Unchained) is basically the Profession of Knowledge skills. Its only purpose is to allow you to recall information with unfathomable precision on a specific topic. So, for example, you can know all about Irrisen without also knowing all about cultures in general. In the specific case of Lore (Pathfinder Society), you can know all about the PFS without also knowing about every other organization on Golarion.

TL;DR Lore will be like Profession; a narrative skill that you can use for storytelling purposes. Code Switch's James Ballod took a new Lore skill at every level in our Reign of Winter game, and it suited his character well. (What the now-17th level dhampir rogue is going to do with Lore [Russian Fairytales] now that we're back on Golarion, I'll never know however.)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I'm going to miss traits, some of the traits from PF1 were really evocative of a backstory, particularly via juxtaposition with another trait, in a way that a singular option isn't. Like it's one thing to have been a penniless urchin, and it's another thing to be a penniless orphan who traveled with the Witchmarket and learned how to talk to doorknobs.

So I hope there's an additional dimension added to backgrounds eventually.

Yeah, I agree: I'd rather see you get 2 that get you a stat and a feat or skill than 1 that gets you both.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I think this is a brilliant system. If only because it helps address perhaps the most frustrating problem I had when I was a player and DM for a School Pathfinder Club, that problem being players would only min/max and take traits and classes purely for mechanical advantage and in doing so create no background or worse yet, poorly justified over dramatic tragedies that for some reason culminated in their characters being some sort of superpowered murder machine.

I think this helps players focus on a more grounded and plausible Character, one that had a past, has a present, and if they play right, will have a future.

Another note is that outside of adventure paths, most of these backgrounds are generic enough to be slotted into pretty much any setting. I've certainly never heard of a fantasy setting that didn't have Blacksmiths, Urchins and the like.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Shouldn't background impact starting wealth? I'd think background noble would start with more money than background street urchin. Background blacksmith might allow you start with a weapon you made, etc.

On a similar thought process, will there be suggestions/rules on how much downtime a character can do before the campaign starts? If you are trained in crafting armor, can you have the time pre-campaign start to have made stuff for yourself using your starting wealth?

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I like the Background system. It will ground 1st level characters in the world and help reign in those crazy long winded backstories that I never have time to read and incorporate into a campaign.

That said I hope there is an “Other” background, much like Starfinder’s Themeless. Since sometimes you have characters who have crazy and cool backgrounds that don’t quite fit the mould.

“I’m a tiefling raised by my devil mother in a nunnery in hell, recently I managed to escape through a portal and now I’m here in Korvosa because the wizard in the party did a summoning ritual that went wrong.” Doesn’t exactly fit the usual tropes of fantasy backgrounds we’re likely to find in the CRB.


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

But when space is at a premium in a book, why print Blacksmith, when you could print "Apprentice" with basically the same text, but filling in any craft (and maybe even any profession) for the crafting related feat/lore subfocus.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

So is this what's replacing traits? It seems alright, though I wonder how the power level is going to be shifted when comparing "half a feat" to granting a pair of stat boosts in addition to actual feats.

The Exchange

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Modules Subscriber
JoelF847 wrote:

Shouldn't background impact starting wealth? I'd think background noble would start with more money than background street urchin. Background blacksmith might allow you start with a weapon you made, etc.

On a similar thought process, will there be suggestions/rules on how much downtime a character can do before the campaign starts? If you are trained in crafting armor, can you have the time pre-campaign start to have made stuff for yourself using your starting wealth?

This is the sort of thing I was kind of getting at. The benefits from each of these is so generic and samey that it seems almost pointless to go through the effort and page-count needed to produce them.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Artificial 20 wrote:
Though I think it's a missed opportunity to not have 20 backgrounds.

Maybe the twentieth is the "themeless" create-your-own background.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

about what I expected. I like that they have the potential to be really closely tied into an AP, although I agree with folks that it's going to be pretty rough until enough AP's and splats come out to allow a full range of character concepts.


9 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
eddv wrote:
The benefits from each of these is so generic and samey that it seems almost pointless to go through the effort and page-count needed to produce them.

We need Background MadLibs:

Quote:

By the age of *number*, you were a *noun*. This made your life very *adjective*.

Choose two ability boosts. One must be to *ability* or *ability*, and one is a free ability boost.

You gain the *skill feat* skill feat, and you're trained in the *noun* Lore skill.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Thank you for holding off on posting this until after the SpaceX rocket launch. :)

You forgot to tag this to the Playtest blog btw.

Quick question: Does this mean that Background is replacing the Campaign Traits found in the Player's Guide?


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

So far this seems to translate to 'you get two ability boosts + one feat + trained in a lore skill and have to pick one of only a relatively small number of possible backgrounds that explain this' - that seems a huge loss of flavour and variety compared to traits.

Ideally I hope there's a lot more variety in the sort of things backgrounds do. If not may as well just have a pick your own option and leave the 19 starting ones as examples.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
MMCJawa wrote:
about what I expected. I like that they have the potential to be really closely tied into an AP, although I agree with folks that it's going to be pretty rough until enough AP's and splats come out to allow a full range of character concepts.

What worries me with this is not too long ago, we had an AP start WITHOUT the guide for it. This means if it happens again, you'll be sitting with an adventure and players without 2 +2 to stats, a skill feat and a skill... [or a 'stand-in' background you have to swap out later].


The Unfortunate Pumpkin wrote:
thflame wrote:

Not a fan.

These options are restricting, whether people want to admit it or not.

Paizo could save a bunch of book space by just having the following text.

"For your character's background, pick 2 ability scores and increase them by 2, then pick a feat from the table X, and a skill from table Y. Your GM may require that you explain your choices with a short description of your background."

Now I don't have to worry about my character having to pick a background that doesn't fit my envisioned character's actual background, or being stuck with the cliches associated with said backgrounds.

I know I had a horrible time with 5e's background system, as NONE of the choices fit my character, so I ended up picking the one with the best mechanical benefits to my character. It felt more like I was clicking boxes in a character creation menu on a cheap MMO than I was applying mechanical benefits that fit the character I envisioned.

Yes! This! I love this idea, it gives you freedom without making it too convoluted.

Honestly I would be much happier with this suggestion; if Backgrounds stay as is, I will definitely not be playing Pathfinder v2.0. For all of the commentary that has been provided by others about previously revealed aspects of the game, for me nothing stands close to Character creation. A singly defined, enforced successful/skillful Character that has little reason to adventure, (unless that is the specific Background picked/they have a tragic, upending backstory TM), that can really only be useful following your own Character concept if the Ancestry/Background aligns with the Class is ... greatly off-putting. I will take a look at the Playtest because I would like to contribute to the game, however since this modular design is all-encompassing, (leaving it unlikely to change), that is where my participation will end.* *Sigh*

So that this post is not wholly negative, I will say that I do appreciate certain aspects of the modular approach, especially the integration of Feats - allowing Archetypes to be either Class specific or much more open. I have found Deity entries, (inc. Anathema adding non-character specifics that impact behaviour but not the character's whole personality itself), including Goblins as a Core Race, and the greater importance of Alchemical Items to Alchemists, (as well as others), to be interesting additions to the game.

* This is not a "threat"/storming off/etc., that is not my style, it is simply that this is less "unappealing" and more "anathema" for me.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
MMCJawa wrote:
about what I expected. I like that they have the potential to be really closely tied into an AP, although I agree with folks that it's going to be pretty rough until enough AP's and splats come out to allow a full range of character concepts.

Honestly worthy it for me.

Issue i had with some home games and traits is that they were just forgotten after you pick them, no in world value outside the mechanical side.

Im not blaming any GM for this either, they just didnt stop to create their on traits since the system was often side lined. Im hoping by this being in core, more people will think about making their own gist for their stories, so when you pick one, you can better integrate with the story about to be told.

The few campaigns i played, outside APs which have their own, that had a GM prepare their traits ahead of time were trully awesome from the get go, since you often started with all players already integrated with the story and its NPCs, with motivations...

Had moments were traits had real story significance and a real inworld impact, like completely changing how certain events went because that one guy was there and that one guy had the trait for the situation we got ourselves in...


BENSLAYER wrote:


Honestly I would be much happier with this suggestion; if Backgrounds stay as is, I will definitely not be playing Pathfinder v2.0. For all of the commentary that has been provided by others about previously revealed aspects of the game, for me nothing stands close to Character creation. A singly defined, enforced successful/skillful Character that has little reason to adventure, (unless that is the specific Background picked/they have a tragic, upending backstory TM), that can really only be useful following your own Character concept if the Ancestry/Background aligns with the Class is ... greatly off-putting. I will take a look at the Playtest because I would like to contribute to the game, however since this modular design is all-encompassing, (leaving it unlikely to change), that is where my participation will end.* *Sigh*

So that this post is not wholly negative, I will say that I do appreciate...

You know that every single piece that's been shown has a floating stat component, right? So if you invest everything in your chosen stat (Wisdom, for example), then at worst it looks like you're looking at a 16 - Ancestry: Goblin for -2 Wis, negated by the floating +2, Background for a floating +2, Cleric for the standard +2, and the last +2 from 1st level.

So even a Goblin can be a decently respectable Cleric. They're never going to be the best, but they can be decent at it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
BENSLAYER wrote:
For all of the commentary that has been provided by others about previously revealed aspects of the game, for me nothing stands close to Character creation. A singly defined, enforced successful/skillful Character that has little reason to adventure, (unless that is the specific Background picked/they have a tragic, upending backstory TM), that can really only be useful following your own Character concept if the Ancestry/Background aligns with the Class is ... greatly off-putting.

Would you care to expand on this? I'm not sure I understand your position, but I am sure that you're speaking for more than yourself.

Are you saying that backgrounds, as they stand, miss the mark in actually explaining why you chose to adventure? Like I said, I don't think I understand you fully.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Nox Aeterna wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
about what I expected. I like that they have the potential to be really closely tied into an AP, although I agree with folks that it's going to be pretty rough until enough AP's and splats come out to allow a full range of character concepts.

Honestly worthy it for me.

Issue i had with some home games and traits is that they were just forgotten after you pick them, no in world value outside the mechanical side.

Im not blaming any GM for this either, they just didnt stop to create their on traits since the system was often side lined. Im hoping by this being in core, more people will think about making their own gist for their stories, so when you pick one, you can better integrate with the story about to be told.

The few campaigns i played, outside APs which have their own, that had a GM prepare their traits ahead of time were trully awesome from the get go, since you often started with all players already integrated with the story and its NPCs, with motivations...

Had moments were traits had real story significance and a real inworld impact, like completely changing how certain events went because that one guy was there and that one guy had the trait for the situation we got ourselves in...

I'm of the school of thought that you should find ways to incorporate characters backstory into a campaign no matter how crazy it seems, as long as it's done well. this way players always feel like their character has story significance, I mean they are the heroes after all. I had the same issue with traits being forgotten after being picked, because players only wanted to take the good ones and didn't care too much for the flavor of them so they just wrote their backstory completely ignoring the traits they took. This lead to me not really using traits too often.

101 to 150 of 579 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder Playtest / Paizo Blog: Everyone Has a Past All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.